9/13/04 9:00 AM EST
Lauer Challenges Kelley's Motives In First Interview On Anti-Bush Book
On NBC's Today Show this morning, Matt Lauer interviewed author Kitty Kelley, who discussed her new book about the Bush in the first installment of a three-day interview. Lauer introduced the segment by noting Kelley was a "controversial celebrity biographer," and noting that Kelley's "often unflattering accounts" of celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, and the British Royal Family, "but her credibility has often been called into question, critics accusing her of shoddy reporting and wholly inaccurate accounts of the subjects she covers." Kelley began by thanking Lauer for the interview, adding the White House had "put great pressure on NBC" to scrap it. Lauer noted the book is "an extremely, extremely unflattering look at the Bush family," to which Kelley interjected it was "realistic." Lauer pressed Kelley for some clue about her political orientation, but she refused to reveal her choice in the presidential race, questioning whether it was "relevant to the book." Lauer said the "headline that comes out of this book today" is Kelley's account that "George W. Bush, while his father was in the White House, so the years between 1988-92, did cocaine with his brother at Camp David. You have to know, that is an extraordinarily serious accusation." Kelley said, "It is. It is serious only because the President has told us that he was not doing drugs at that time. George W. Bush has never, ever denied using, buying or selling cocaine. He has restricted it to a certain period of time." Lauer: "He says he gave up drinking in 1986 and became much more religious. . .but you want us to believe that two years after this change in his life, he'd doing cocaine at Camp David? How many sources do you have for that?" Kelley: "Two." Lauer: "One is unnamed." Kelley: "One is unnamed. And by the way, this book has been vetted by four sets of lawyers, including the chief counsel of Random House." Lauer: "The second source on this is Sharon Bush." Kelley: "She is not a source. She confirmed it for me." Lauer: "So you have two sources other than Laura Bush?" Kelley: "Sharon Bush and an unnamed source." Sharon Bush later appeared on the Today Show and denied that she ever told Kelley that Bush used cocaine at Camp David.